The Recreation and Wellness department (RecWell) at the University of North Florida is spread out over 230 acres of the campus, has multiple facilities and fields, and is divided up into these units:
- Competitive Sports
- Eco Adventure and Nature Trails
We employ nearly 20 full-time, salaried staff members across these units and nearly 200 part-time student employees. Just in the last 10 years, three major facilities have been built:
- The Student Wellness Complex which houses the department business office, wellness programs, group fitness, a 27,000-square-foot fitness center and a 34-foot indoor climbing wall. It was built in 2013.
- The Field House which is home to our Competitive Sports programs — built in 201.
- The Competition Pool Complex, our outdoor lap and program pool, built in 2021.
As we reflect on department growth, we recognize the challenge to be a cohesive department among our different units and staff teams. Most of our units have multiple staff teams to support our different programming.
Eco Adventure, for example, has Challenge Course staff, Gear Checkout staff, and Environmental Education Rangers — three different staff teams to support the various programs. Identity within unit staff teams is strong; the RecWell identity among units however needs improvement.
Our solution to address these challenges and to support a more cohesive department is through a Staff Development Committee. This committee is comprised of a professional staff representative from each unit. The committee planning cycle starts in the summer to focus on planning school year staff development initiatives. Initiatives include: all-staff training, staff recognition, staff appreciation.
By the time the fall semester starts, this committee informs all supervisors of key dates of training and staff appreciation, and recognition strategies for the school year.
All-staff training is training for all RecWell staff, unique from individual staff training and usually offered at least once per school year. The goal of this training is to create a better sense of belonging to RecWell through sharing common information to all RecWell staff through activities for staff to learn more about the department and their peer staff teams.
For staff recognition, most staff teams approach recognition within their team only. Through the Staff Development Committee, RecWell recognition strategies are determined so staff successes are recognized across the department.
Similar to staff recognition, most staff teams approach staff appreciation within their team only. Through the Staff Development Committee, we are better able to show appreciation to all department staff through a themed activity open to all staff at the end of the fall and spring semesters.
Over time, we expect these simple strategies will help to develop a sense of belonging to the department as a whole on both the professional staff and student staff level. Committee meetings also create a natural opportunity for sharing ideas and strategies among unit representatives. The committee meetings are low impact on their time with meeting frequency about every six weeks, while having high impact on supporting a cohesive department team.
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